Eating For Health And Strength

Four small boys once came to a green apple tree. The first boy was innocent and ignorant, and ate of the apples.

The second boy had been warned by his mother, but the example of the first boy and the taste of the apples overcame the force of that warning, and he also ate of the apples.

The third boy had eaten of green apples be-fore, and remembered the pains therefrom; but the taste of the apples, being an immediate pleasure, overcame the thought of future pain, and he also ate of the apples.

The fourth boy was different. Perhaps he had been warned, perhaps he had observed, perhaps he had had experience; but he resisted the temptation, and so avoided future pain.

So people differ in this world as to their ability to resist temptation to indulgence or the erroneous example of others.

The woman who reclines among her pillows reading novels and eating chocolate creams is but another example of the small boy at the green apple tree. While she reads of the “lithesome form” and “bubbling vitality” of the heroine, and sighs in covetous ecstacy for a share of the romance, she is deliberately killing her own chance for either joy or romance, because her indulgence, whether born of ignorance or a weak will, is storing up an obesity that will destroy her beauty and shorten her life.

All of us humans want happiness, but we differ as to our ideas of the way to get it. The sensuaist attempts to get his happiness from the imediate stimulation of the appetites without forethought as to the ultimate outcome. He stuffs his stomach with the most stimulating and delectable viands, regardless of the agony of future dyspepsia, the pains of gout, the humiliation of obesity or the tragedy of a death before his time.

The temperate man takes forethought of the total happiness to be had from life and, by the study of the laws of human health and efficiency, and the denial of the more immediate and indulgent pleasures, he safeguards his happiness for the future by obedience to life’s laws.

It is for those who have the forethought, who wish to gain the most out of life as a whole, that this book is written.

Granted that you believe the health of the body, the efficiency of the mind and length of life to be worth striving for, no argument should be needed to convince you of the importance of the subjects of food and the nutrition of the body.

The business of eating is not a rare or remote experience in life, but it is ever with us, usually about three times a day. The question of eating concerns all, but it concerns us differently.

It concerns the poor man chiefly from the economic viewpoint. Wild animals and “savage” men spend most of their time in food getting. So even in the state of civilization the average man spends nearly half his income—that is, his working time, of which his income is the measure —in the getting of food, and a goodly share of his leisure in the eating of it. The prosperous man, for whom the getting of food becomes relatively less of a problem, just because of the fact of his greater wealth and leisure, is apt to concern himself more with the question of the taste and appearance of his food.

But neither rich man nor poor man, if he be a forethinking man, who would gain the greatest strength and health of body and mind and the maximum length of life upon this earth, can avoid the question of the effect of food upon the health, vitality and longevity.

In this book, I shall not wholly ignore matters of the economy or of the taste and palatability of food; but the primary purpose of the work, and the subject to which most attention will be given, is the answering of questions concerning the relation of food to health and strength and the general efficiency of our lives.

For this purpose the subject cannot be intelligently presented without some scientific discussion. The necessary scientific knowledge I shall strive to present as briefly as possible and with a view to its practical application.

The scientific knowledge of food has made rapid strides in recent years, partly on account of the tremendous importance of food problems during the war. Much new knowledge has also been acquired recently from biological investigations or experimenting upon animals. It is possible that some readers may question the worth of food facts derived from experimenting upon pigeons or rats. We are not at liberty to experiment so freely upon human beings; and as the laws are fundamentally the same for all or at least all kindred species, the student of human food science should welcome this knowledge derived from animal experimentation, but seek to check it by practical observation upon human beings.

I give the results of the biologists who experiment on animals, because they throw interesting light on human food problems, but the practical teachings of this book are by no means wholly derived either from investigation of chemists or animal experimenters. The final and true source of all knowledge of human nutrition and, for that matter, all knowledge of human life and health, must be derived from human observation and experience. It is from this human source that I have derived my own fundamental views and practical knowledge of dietetics and health.

The second, third and fourth chapters of the book will survey briefly the chemistry, the physiology and the biology of food. In these chapters you will find the necessary scientific groundwork to enable you to understand better the later discussions. The fifth chapter considers “‘What to Eat,” and treats of the nutritional values of various foods. Following this we consider the balancing of the diet, or the effect of combining and proportioning foods, and “How and When to Eat.” We then discuss “How Much to Eat,” or the question of food quantity.

The four chapters next in order will cover the subjects of the production, marketing and manufacture of food, the preparation of food in the home, or practical cookery, and the question of food economy or the “Cost of Living.”

Those chapters thus far enumerated will serve to give you a general knowledge of food science and the practical application to the economical and efficient nourishment of the body; all these chapters will be of equal interest and importance to all readers. The remaining eight chapters of the book are devoted to eight special health or personal living problems in which the reader’s interest may vary somewhat, according to his own physical condition or personal needs. Thus, some of you want to know how to eat to gain weight, and others how to eat to reduce weight. The problem of eating for maximum physical strength and efficiency should interest all, and the similar problem of the effect of food and our eating habits upon mental efficiency is of equal importance in the world in which most men labor with their minds. Questions of the effect. of food upon the sexual and procreative life, and problems of feeding children for health and growth are vital ones for individual happiness and social welfare. The problem of the effect of food upon the length of life concerns or should concern us all, but will naturally be of more concern to those advanced in years; hence is treated from that viewpoint. The relation of food to the prevention and cure of disease is but another aspect of the general problem—for health is but the absence of disease, and disease the absence of health.